Computer Wars
by Charles Ferguson and Charles Morris

An excellent analysis of the computer industry with particular emphasis on IBM and the personal computer revolution. Key points are the importance of leading the way in new architectures versus manufacturing hardware and developing software to fit into some other company’s architecture (at which Japanese companies excel); the related danger of executives protecting their own turf and short-term profits by blocking new product development or imposing too many requirements on new product development teams to make them conform to established company-controlled (System/360) architecture and inappropriate, time-consuming procedures; the effects of government policies toward the computer industry (Japanese government encouraged Japanese businesses to pirate American technology, USA government anti-trust law suits forced American businesses to give away advanced technology and created a generation of timid, play-it-safe executives at IBM causing IBM to fail to control new architectures in the PC industry; European governments followed the fascist model of selecting a national-champion company in each technological industry, subsidizing it, protecting it from competition, stifling innovation, and making Europe insignificant compared to the USA and Japan in the computer wars.). The book ends with recommendations for USA federal government policies to promote American computer companies, based on nationalistic and quasi-mercantilist assumptions, with a nod to free enterprise.

Year Read: 2003

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